Aug 31, 2022
DOJ Releases Photos Showing Classified Docs Found At Mar-A-Lago Transcript
The Justice Department revealed top secret documents were “likely concealed and removed” at Mar-a-Lago in an effort to obstruct them in the ongoing criminal investigation of former President Trump. Read the transcript here.
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Peter Alexander: (00:00)
This morning, the Justice Department revealing explosive new information in the ongoing criminal investigation into highly classified document seized from former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. In a late night court filing, the DOJ contends the top secret documents were likely concealed and moved around in an effort to obstruct its investigation, adding that Mr. Trump’s representatives falsely claimed under oath that all of the materials had been returned. The filing also includes this striking new photo showing documents with classified markings laid out on the carpet that it says were taken from “45 office.”
Speaker 2: (00:36)
Those cover sheets are on the top of all classified records. And so it’s pretty obvious to anybody, even somebody perhaps who didn’t do their homework or read the materials presented to him when he was president, that this stuff is classified and has to be treated in a certain way.
Peter Alexander: (00:53)
The filing discloses some of the classified documents recovered during the FBI’s search earlier this month were found in a desk in the former president’s personal office.
Speaker 3: (01:02)
The idea that he didn’t know he was holding onto classified information and they were sitting in his desk in his office, not just in the storage room, it’s very hard to make the argument.
Peter Alexander: (01:11)
The government noting that in a matter of hours, the FBI recovered twice as many documents with classification markings, as the “diligence search,” the former president’s team had weeks to perform. Some of the recovered materials so sensitive that FBI agents and Justice Department attorneys needed additional security clearances just to review them. In all, more than 100 classified documents were seized.
Peter Alexander: (01:36)
The 36 page filing lays out the DOJs opposition that Mr. Trump’s legal request for an independent set of eyes to review the documents seized. The Justice Department says appointing a so-called special master is unnecessary and would significantly harm important governmental interests, including national security interests. Before last night’s disclosure, Mr. Trump spent the day posting a barrage of Qanon content and other conspiracy theories on his social media platform. Meanwhile, President Biden has slammed Republicans for criticizing the FBI in recent weeks.
Joe Biden: (02:11)
There’s no place in this country, no place, for endangering the lives of law enforcement. No place.
Craig Melvin: (02:20)
So Peter, that filing also revealed some new details about the former president’s passports and why they were taken during that search of Mar-a-Lago. What did the filing tell us about that?
Peter Alexander: (02:30)
Yeah, Craig you’re right, in this filing, the prosecutors respond to the former president’s claim that his passports were improperly taken. By the way, they have since been returned. But the government said that it seized the contents of a desk drawer in the former office filled with classified materials, government records, other documents that included three passports, two that were expired. The fact that it was all mixed together, they say helps make their case that Mr. Trump was not properly storing this information, national defense information. The former president’s team has until tonight to file their rebuttal arguing a separate set of eyes should be allowed to review those documents.
Peter Alexander: (03:07)
Mr. Trump, whose current legal team has come under criticism, by the way, just hired a new prominent Florida attorney yesterday who has a reputation as sort of a skilled political knife fighter and has won several past cases before the Supreme Court. So this continues, Craig.
Craig Melvin: (03:21)
All right. So it does. Our chief White House correspondent, Peter Alexander. Peter, thank you.
Al Roker: (03:26)
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